I Will Love You From Here

Jack sat under red skies that night watching the last boats row out to the three billowing smokestacks of the ship at the mouth of the harbour. The neat porthole rows lit the ridges on the backs of soft waves as the last skiffs slipped through them silently.

Rosalee and her sister had boarded a skiff that afternoon destined for America. On ship days, photographers set up around the bay to immortalize the departing to the ones they left, and Jack had waved one over. The flash ignited and its smoke trailed away in the wind.

“I’ll join you when I am well enough to travel, my Rosalee” Jack had said bravely as the skiff pushed off. “And I will love you from here until then.”

He’d stood on the hard sand at the water’s edge and watched the little skiff try to stay afloat under the weight of the heavy steamer trunks. Jack had waved his last goodbye with his pork pie hat until a cough rattled through his ribcage and doubled him over, red-faced and hacking into his hands. He’d cursed at the mist of blood pooling inside them as he washed them clean in the waves.

Rosalee married a tailor in Connecticut the following year after Jack’s brother wrote her about Jack’s death. The letter began, “He spoke most of his voyage to you.”

 

Appeared in Fuss Magazine, July 2012 and received Honourable Mention